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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Gardner Woods

Safe-distanced Book Club

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Fifteen very entertaining women-live and in vibrant technicolor, plus a couple on Zoom invited me to be a guest at their recent Book Club gathering.

It worked out very nicely because the book, they had were discussing happened to be mine which was launched just four months ago...into the quarantined pandemic world.

How nice it was to be face to face, albeit six feet apart, and interact in person with such intelligent and interesting people.

They even concocted a yummy special cocktail - orange - for the festivities!

Over and over I have gotten some of the same reactions to my story, but "why aren't there any pictures?" is frequent. So I shared I some pictures, among them my favorite of the Henri Matisse painting, "Luxe, Calme, et Volupté," which takes its name from the refrain of Charles Baudelaire's poem, Invitation to a Voyage (1857), in which a man invites his lover to travel with him to paradise. The painting shares the poem's subject: escape to an imaginary, tranquil refuge.

Both the words of the poem and the art of Matisse inspired us, my husband Jack and me, to create our bit of paradise, The Orange Woods, in idyllic Pauma Valley, California.

Matisse, the leader of the Fauvist movement and considered by many to be the greatest colorist of the twentieth century, said"What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter."

Any wonder I'm a disciple?

I invited my special guest, the artist Linda Pickering who painted the artwork that became the cover of my book, to join us that evening.

And no big surprise, she sold another painting, this one of pomegranates, to one of the book club guests!


And the best part of the entire evening, my vivacious, adorable daughter Jamie was a surprise guest - and it looks like she listened to her mother!


Lucky you!!  I am envious of your Book Club meeting!!

Does Linda Pickering have a website?  I love her paintings...,,realistic but drippy and surreal.

We will meet someday hopefully!! AR

As always, I enjoyed your book club experience.  While reading your book, I googled the Matisse painting, which I had never seen.  Interesting - I like it too!  Is Jamie the pretty brunette in yellow in the picture with you? Shirley

Hi Marilyn! I was thinking about you and your book publishing date. I haven’t heard from you for months!  I enjoyed your profound emails. Did you stop writing those?

I asked Sue about you. She found out your book was published in May. I ordered it on Amazon. Delivered today! I look forward to reading it! Hope all is well for you!

Ciao! PKP

Congratulations on your book!

I will order it!


Maria Evangelina 

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